Award-Winning Pub Company, Craft Union, Celebrates 500th Pub!

Multi-award-winning pub company, Craft Union, celebrated a significant milestone with its 500th pub opening in Leicester.

Known for providing a warm and welcoming ‘home from home’ since 2015, Craft Union pubs have become famous for putting quality pubs back in the heart of communities and have fast become an industry success story.

Boasting both high retention among loyal operators and thousands of regulars up and down the UK, Craft Union’s appeal is rooted in values of humour, community, diversity, and honesty.

From early origins within EI Group to impressive growth as a Stonegate company, Craft Union continues to set the standard of how an operator model can keep individuality at the heart of each pub that serves its community. The pub company’s philosophy is to ‘think big, act small’ while playing a vital role in its customer’s lives.

Standing shoulder to shoulder with operators is a big part of this, as Regional Managers are encouraged to nurture relationships with a relatively small group of pubs and operators under their wing.

The 500th site is the Royal Standard, Leicester – a pub run by different generations of the same family for decades, and one that flies the flag for Craft Union community values.

Operator, Chris Chappell said: “You feel really supported in helping your business to thrive, especially by your Regional Manager, who will sit down with you regularly and go through how you see the pub developing.”

Supporting and engaging with local communities has always been at the heart of Craft Union. This has been recognised by the Publican Awards, with Craft Union being shortlisted for Best Community Operator numerous times and winning the laurels for this category in 2020 and 2022.

Charity and community fundraising has also been a consistent cornerstone of Craft Union, with recent campaigns such as ‘Winter Warmth,’ which raised £8000 and donated 480 bags of warm essentials to senior citizens in pub communities. As part of ‘Love your Local,’ an impressive £60,000 was donated towards local grass roots community activities. As well as supporting local charities, the Craft Union team will come together to run in the Rob Burrow Marathon in May, to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease Association – Stonegate’s Group charity.

Frazer Grimbleby, Operations Director, said: “There are so many reasons why Craft Union has received praise from the industry and its communities, not least because of the quality drinks offers, daily entertainment and supporting local teams. We also provide an unrivalled sports viewing experience and lead the way in community engagement.”

Nick Andrews, Managing Director of Stonegate said: “We do our utmost to support all involved with Craft Union to run a successful local business. Craft Union continues to grow, we look forward to bringing Craft Union to more local communities and welcoming more Operators to our Craft Union family.”

To find out more about Craft Union or to enquire about becoming a CU Operator, please see CU’s dedicated page here.